There is something satisfying as well as effective for your business to reflect on last year’s social media trends and predict if they will still have an impact this year. From the meteoric rise of Snapchat to Facebook videos, getting social and using social channels effectively is a distinct way for businesses to get ahead in 2016.
Here are my predictions for what’s hot this year:
It’s time to get familiar with the marketing opportunities associated with mobile messaging as it will be one of the biggest trends in 2016 and will allow businesses to engage directly with users.
A recent example was when Toyota ran a successful campaign in Spain and got users to ‘WhatsApp them’ a pickup line to charm the Toyota Aygo with the best line in order to win the car. The campaign was successful because of increased engagement in their target demographic.
This platform is one to keep on your radar as a potential marketing opportunity. In July 2015 Mark Zuckerberg said “The playbook that we’re gonna run with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp is kinda similar to how we thought about building a business in Facebook and News Feed.”
So although we might not see direct ads appearing in our Facebook messenger, we could see more developments on the platform that will allow marketers to communicate with potential customers. For example, Disney using Emojis on Messenger to promote their latest films.
Internal Social Networks
In 2015 Facebook started to roll out its Facebook At Work service. In essence this is an internal version of Facebook that allows staff to communicate with each other about work issues without ever leaving Facebook.com. The Royal Bank Of Scotland recently signed up for the service and plans to have its 100,000 employees using it by the end of 2016.
Internal social networks offer marketers a massive opportunity to think creatively about how to target these businesses in a clever and strategic manner.
Better Ways to Spend Your Ad Budget
First there was Google AdWords, then Facebook ads and various ad networks on other platforms. Now we are inundated with social networks looking for your advertising money.
In 2015 Instagram launched its ad network through Facebook’s ad network. Having used Instagram ads for many clients, the platform still needs a bit of work as click-through rates are low in comparison to Facebook ads that ran on newsfeeds on Facebook.com or the Facebook app.
In 2016 we expect to see Snapchat bringing out its advertising products to compete head-to-head with Facebook. In a similar way to Facebook, they will allow advertisers the opportunity to target users by monitoring the stories users are viewing on their discover function. This will challenge marketers to get creative with their Snapchat stories, as building a brand on the network will be more about humour and fun.
When it comes to video marketing, if you are not already doing it for your business, then stop what you are doing now and start looking into it!
Apps such as Periscope, Vine, Snapchat and Facebook Video have all gathered huge momentum in 2015 with many businesses saying that video content is their best marketing tool.
Facebook plans to roll out suggested videos in 2016 with advertisers paying to promote their video content on Facebook.
Over the last couple of years, ad-targeting options on social media networks have become a lot more refined. Due to technological improvements and the amount of data people store online, it is becoming a lot easier to target individual users.
As social networks fight it out for your ad spend, they have to constantly improve their platforms to offer more bang for your buck. For example, through Facebook’s conversion tracking pixel audience, re-targeting now becomes a ‘must do’ part of your ads on Facebook and is an extremely cost-effective way to remarket.
With so many options in the market and a limited budget to play with, it can be a challenge to work out which option is best for your business. The secret is to test, test and test again. Look at different audience demographics for your pages and monitor results on a regular basis — and always remember that standing still is not an option as you can be sure that your competitors are moving forward.
Andy Hill is Managing Director of Dokoo Digital, a marketing agency based in Belfast that helps companies with social media strategies.